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Sunday, December 17, 2017

TO HUMANITY'S LEADERS AS CHRISTMAS APPROACHES

by George Salamon




You do not hear others.
You listen to voices inside yourselves,
Voices crazy with the sanity of greed,
Inspired by the magic of power.
You nurse profane dreams of
Treacheries and lies, never cringing,
Navigating toward escapes from your motives,
While neither God nor man blocks your evasions.
Your end will arrive, by accident or error,
But with it, no Peace on Earth.


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

INCANTATION: LET THE MAGIC BEGIN

by Mare Leonard


art by Noely Ryan @ ArtStation


You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man. I can grab your pussy, stick out my tongue, spit, sputter like geysers from below.


Into what hell of fake news,  ruse of tax cuts,  mountains of lies, the lawyer in the room guise  stirs the cauldron  today? Don't lean on hopes of Flynt. He scratched a rock, lit a light of immunity for morality or him? Like a geyser, he may spark, sputter, reach to the sky and fizzle. The devil resides in the cauldron below. Deep under the caw caw of the crow, geysers spout up and we shout this is it, the one, howl, don't let babies burn  burn, burn, don't let lifelines fall through the cracks, don't give  billions to the rich. don't mock the middle, the poor, the immigrant. Drown out congressmen in LaLaLand who like Marie Antoinette shout, Let them eat cake. Geese honkhonk, Resist. How does the GOPP, the party of the pedophiles exist, how do they move and eat and sleep? Hooked on opiods, burgers, midnight tweets, a belief in trickle down economics, the lie that sweeps the donors cash for their ten thou dinner treats, another castle on a hill?  We observe, take photos when the earth splits, sweeps you all below. We sing, you can run you but you can't hide, you can shout  but Mueller and the FBI will  crack you GingerBreadMan and your vanilla wafer friends. You'll tremble and crumble, rollrollroll into the underland.  And in the heavens  the #MeToo will light the sky.  We'll sing, love, love, love, hug women, men, babies, The LGBTQ, DACA, Muslims all who  rise from the dead to hear from above no one can  pardon the King of Scam.


Mare Leonard lives in an old school house overlooking The Rondout Creek. Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College.  Although her most natural writing voice is humorous she has published in a range of voices and in all forms and subject matters. She was a finalist in last year's NY State Di Biase contest. Some of her latest publications appear in the Vietnam poetry publication from Perfume River, Rats Ass Review, Figroot, Sweet Tree, Eunoia and in the British Journal of Arts&Letters.

Friday, December 15, 2017

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT

by Lee Patton


AP Photo/Mark Lennihan via Quartz


After the Killings 14 December 2012


I could hear 40s screwball dialogue as I woke late,
groggy, that mass-murder morning.  “What’s on TV?”
I asked. “Barbara Stanwyck flick,” you called out
from the kitchen, turning over the French toast.

I gulped coffee while Stanwyck’s character fakes
homemaker celebrity, claiming a country house
 for sham motherhood, not even knowing the name
of the baby who appears out of nowhere. Stanwyck

has to pretend the baby’s hers and put on a diaper
but fumbles.  She’s never changed one in her life.
(Like me, Stanwyck can’t help out one little kid.)
So anyway, then Christmas comes to Connecticut

with all the snow on church steeples and the village
green, glad kids, school out, toy guns, blinking Xmas
trees, the whole New England drill.  Though I knew
it was filmed on a Hollywood lot, the icicles phony,

I wanted it to be real, for that California kid I was,
who yearned for the True American Christmas—
not green grass but sparkling snowfields, not rain
but frosty, flaky white skies, not go-carts but sleds

on the nearest slope. Now, aged orphan, I yearn
for everyone who’s dead. I’d give anything to wake
late and find my dad starting the turkey, my mom
fluttering nearby, turning French toast on the stove,

my big brother plucking slices before they made it
to the table. We can’t recreate that taste, the real
Mexican vanilla my mom used to dazzle the mix.
They’re gone, Mom, Dad, Brother. Christmases pass,

lifeless. I hoped Christmas kept true in Connecticut,
perfect for all yearning kids, when the news came on.


Lee Patton, a Denverite, writes fiction, poetry, drama and commentary. He's won prizes in 2016 and 2017 from Poetry Matters and Winning Writers. Quarterlies that have published his work include Best New Writing 2012, The Threepenny Review, The Massachusetts Review, The California Quarterly,  Poetry Quarterly, Ellipsis, Hawaii-Pacific Review, Adirondack Review and Memoir Journal. His third novel My Aim Is True is out from Dreamspinner Press. “Faith of Power,” a novella, appears in Main Street Rag's 2017 suspense anthology.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

AFTER THE FUNERAL

by Crystal Snoddon




“If police can execute an innocent man on video, none of us are safe.” 
—Buck Sexton, The Hill, December 11, 2017


Sweet Security, that phantasmal beauty, lies buried 6 feet under.
I saw the body-cam footage, how her sister,
Paranoia, shot her dead—
don’t watch
spiders scrawl warnings on flesh, listen:
Paranoia laughs, freed from cuffs
of assumed innocence.
Witness her lie on the motel bed, her bare,
thin lips exposed in a cavernous grin,
her adamantine teeth.
She bites hard, man.
Cops claim she’d hidden the rifle under the bed, but
no one dared lift the sham,
confirm the threat.

Paranoia, hungry cougar, prowls. Growls feed me.
Her cousin, Injustice, that crack whore,
trolls the subway,
steals candy from fatherless kid’s pockets,
feeds the family sugar power-drops,
lollipops on dirty sticks,
prefers home-baked shortbreads dipped
in ghetto chocolate, rich and dark.
They all sit on Daddy’s knee,
cuz Mama Liberty
drowned in the harbor, fascist bling chains round her neck,
her tablet cracked, her gown stained black
by pigeon shit.
Everyone runs blind.


Crystal Snoddon is a Canadian writer, whose forthcoming and previous poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net, and can be found in Figroot Press, Rat's Ass Review, Anti-Heroin Chick, among others.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

STEVE KING: THIS IS YOUR NOT SO WONDERFUL LIFE

by Michael H. Brownstein




      King said. "I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you're talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?"
      Hayes asked: "Than white people?"
      "Than, than Western civilization itself," King said. "It's rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That's all of Western civilization."
USA Today, July 18, 2016



So Congressman Steve King of Iowa woke on Monday morning.
The first thing he did was go to the bathroom—outside in a small wooden shack. (1)
He wiped his behind when he was finished with leaves and other weeds. (2)
Then, like a dog, slapped water onto his face, dug his tongue into the pond and drank. (3)
In the house he put on a smock of leaves (4) after a cold snack of simple food. (5)
He walked to work (6) down crooked pathways to his office in a city without focus (7)
and entered a small office in the capitol of no pattern (7 again) —you get it now—
just about everything was designed or invented by someone who was not white.


1. A typical example is the Indus city of Lothal (c. 2350 BCE). In Lothal all houses had their own private toilet which was connected to a covered sewer network constructed of brickwork held together with a gypsum-based mortar that emptied either into the surrounding water bodies or alternatively into cesspits, the latter of which were regularly emptied and cleaned. (Khan, Saifullah. "Sanitation and wastewater technologies in Harappa/Indus valley civilization 2600-1900 BC")

2. 50 B.C. The Chinese first made paper with short lengths of bamboo and then later added cotton linen rags which were soaked in water and pounded into swollen pulp. This was then formed into sheets and dried.
105 A.D: Ts’ai Lun, a Chinese court official, has his name linked to the invention of paper. Most likely, Ts’ai mixed mulberry bark, hemp, and rags with water, mashed it into pulp, pressed out the liquid, and hung the thin mat to dry in the sun.
8th Century: Arabs were known to make writing paper and were the first to use linen in the process. (The Toilet Paper Encyclopedia)

3. Bamboo tubes sealed at the end with clay provided a usable container in Asia, while the inhabitants of the Tehuacan Valley began carving large stone bowls that were permanently set into a hearth as early as 7,000 BC. (Cookware and Bakeware at Wikipedia)

4. Cotton was used for clothing in Ancient India from 5th millennium BC. Linen cloth was made in Ancient Egypt from the Neolithic period. (History of Clothing)

5. The earliest evidence for fire associated with humans comes from Oldowan hominid sites in the Lake Turkana region of Kenya. The site of Koobi Fora (FxJj20, dated 1.6 million years ago) contained oxidized patches of earth to a depth of several centimeters, which some scholars interpret as evidence for fire control. At 1.4 million years of age, the Australopithecine site of Chesowanja in central Kenya also contained burned clay clasts in small areas. Other Lower Paleolithic sites in Africa that contain possible evidence for fire include Gadeb in Ethiopia (burned rock), and Swartkrans (270 burned bones out of a total of 60,000, dated 600,000-1 million years old), and Wonderwerk Cave (burned ash and bone fragments, ca. 1 million years ago), both in South Africa. (K. Kris Hirst, "The Discovery of Fire")

6. C.R. Patterson, born slave, built automobiles before Henry Ford. (Monette Bailey)

7. President Thomas Jefferson recommended Benjamin Banneker (an African-American) to be a part of a surveying team to lay out Washington, D.C. Appointed to the three-man team by President George Washington, Banneker wound up saving the project when the lead architect quit in a fury – taking all the plans with him. Using his meticulous memory, Banneker was able to recreate the plans. Furthermore Banneker invented a perfectly timed working clock. No wonder Steve King was never on time.


Michael H. Brownstein was the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam, 2011.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

MAKING MY 2018 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS EARLY

by Gil Hoy




If I make enough money, I just might get
A tax break.  If I join the 1% and belong
to the right club.

Then, I can schmooze with the right
fancy folk, forget the middle class
joke, nothing more than a pig
in a poke.

Or, maybe, I’ll just become a Pass-Through
Corporation.

And when I do, I’ll make sure
all that extra cash

    t
      r
        i
          c
            k
              l
               e
                 s


d
o
w
n.


Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who is studying poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program.  Hoy received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.  He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared (or will be appearing) most recently in Ariel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, The Penmen Review, TheNewVerse.News and Clark Street Review.

Monday, December 11, 2017

THE NOW PRESIDENT

by Alejandro Escudé


Stiglich cartoon via The Mercury News


“With Twitter as his Excalibur, President Trump takes on his doubters, powered by Diet Coke and long spells of cable news.” —The New York Times, December 9, 2017


Why? They ask. Where’s
the logic? Reason ditched
like an old password.
Meaning based on smirks,
each a swift calculation,
a brand. We worship
Smith's invisible hand.
It does what it does,
its will is indefatigable.
All is genius or craziness.
One could think gambling,
and think of battleships.
Not the scathing solitude
of Churchill but that
of Truman and the bomb.
Yet, that can’t explain
Twitter, the chaos whims,
the bitter word-bones,
the lobbing of stones at
the webbing of Democracy.
To sunlight we gaze
amid echoing gunshots
and plead for a harkening.


Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

DILEMMA

by Joe Amaral


The large, bold woodcut image of a supplicant male slave in chains appears on the 1837 broadside publication of John Greenleaf Whittier's antislavery poem, "Our Countrymen in Chains." The design was originally adopted as the seal of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery in England in the 1780s, and appeared on several medallions for the society made by Josiah Wedgwood as early as 1787. —Library of Congress


Six minutes until game time
and the anthem is about to begin.

I’m afraid to kneel for inequality
in front of 11,000 drunk people

holding their hands half-heartedly
over hearts awaiting the start of

a collegiate soccer game where voice
rather than tangible action counts.

I want to avoid the hostile sneers of fans
awake in fake patriotism, ignorant to

police brutality. My kids follow the lead
of the crowd and stand. I ditch my family,

climbing concrete steps into the breeze-
way, my back to the flag, ducking into

a bathroom. The blood and soil floor is
piss-stained. I sort of kneel, listening as

the reverberation of a bad singer gravels
something antiquated and fragilely austere.

I feel for those going through the motions
dead-eyed. They know dutiful conformity

is an empty gesture unspoken. But a fist
in the air, a knee on the ground, now that

is no small token.


Joe Amaral works 48-hour shifts as a paramedic on the central coast of California. He has two young daughters, Zelia and Rui, and his wife Marina is a surgical nurse. They love spelunking outdoors, camping, traveling and hosting foreign exchange students. His writing has appeared worldwide in awesome places like 3Elements Review, Arcadia Magazine, Crow Hollow 19, The Good Men Project, The Rise Up Review and Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora. Joe won the 2014 Ingrid Reti Literary Award. 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

COMPLICIT: WORD OF THE YEAR 2017

by Jacqueline Jules




“As we look at the cultural and political landscape, we ask:
‘What does it mean to be complicit in 2017?’” —Dictionary.com


A word with soft syllables,
like a snake slithering in the grass.
Silent but deadly.

Who gets bitten if I step away?
If I wait for someone else to speak?

The president’s daughter
said she didn’t know
what the word meant,
denied wrongdoing.

We can’t be guilty
if we do nothing.

Right?


Jacqueline Jules is the author of the poetry chapbooks Field Trip to the Museum, Stronger Than Cleopatra, and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including TheNewVerse.News, The Rising Phoenix Review, What Rough Beast, Public Pool, and Gargoyle.

Friday, December 08, 2017

THE SENTENCING OF MICHAEL SLAGER

by Harold Oberman


Judy Scott holds a photo of her son Walter Scott on Thursday after Michael Slager, a former police officer who shot and killed Mr. Scott in 2015 after a traffic stop, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for violating Mr. Scott’s civil rights. Credit: Credit Randall Hill/Reuters via The New York Times, December 7, 2017


I went to middle school with him,
Walter Scott.  He was a year behind
And, as to his details, I don't remember.
I just don't remember.

I pulled out an old Annual after the shooting.
Wallace Middle School.  New Horizons. 1979.
My parents sent me there against the advice of their peers.
"Violence," they said, "had happened,"
The past year.  Middle school violence
In the Seventies.  A big brawl, perhaps a stabbing
At the most.  So antique.

38 years later, Walter Scott’s shot in the back.
The cop got 20 years.
Violence does not have a half-life
That diminishes over time
Or a blood-red glow that grows dimmer,
Though we wish it did.

He wears a large-collared shirt in the Annual.
I can't tell its colors.
The photos, back then, were all black and white.




Harold Oberman is a lawyer working and writing in Charleston, SC. His first poem was published in middle school and, subsequently, he has had his work published in TheNewVerse.News.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

JERUSALEM, DECEMBER 2017

by John Guzlowski


Palestinian men walk past a street sign indicating the distance to Jerusalem on December 5, 2017, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Credit: HAZEM BADER/AFP via Haaretz, December 6, 2017


the tribes are divided
the sand ripens in the street

the world waits
for the beginning of time

and a new God
who will teach us to love


John Guzlowski’s writing appears in Rattle, Ontario Review, North American Review, Salon.Com, Crab Orchard Review, and many other print and online journals here and abroad.  His poems and personal essays about his parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in Chicago appear in his memoir in prose and poetry Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press). Road of Bones, his novel about two German lovers separated by war, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press.  Of Guzlowski’s writing, Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz said, “He has an astonishing ability for grasping reality.”

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

THE BAKER, THE CAKE, AND THE CLIENT

by Dorothy Baird


Image source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek


I bake cakes—
pound, fruit, layer, sheet—
for birthdays and tea breaks.
Wedding cakes, my greatest feat.

A merger of moist, delicate cake
with frostings and fillings of sweet.
Art and skill create a keepsake
with flowers and furbelows neat.

Oh! But wait!
two grooms will not eat my cake.
Neither a cupcake nor a pancake
will I make.

I have standards, you know.
My baking is conditional
on their being traditional,
then I’ll take their dough.


Dorothy Baird lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her poetry has appeared on line and in print in TheNewVerse.News, Iodine, Kakalak, and other anthologies and journals, and in her book Indelible Ripples (Kelsey Books 2017).

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

NOT A GOOD DAY

by Wayne Scheer





Not a good day for me...

The Republicans pass a tax bill
to help the rich get richer
and the Yankees
don't choose Bam Bam Muelins
as their new manager.

I have nothing against the Yankees' choice,
nor do I care about the rich,
one way or the other.

But it would have been fun
if a guy nicknamed Bam Bam
managed the stately Yanks
and it would have been nice
for those of us without private jets
to believe people in power cared.


Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. He's published numerous stories, poems and essays in print and online, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories. His short story “Zen and the Art of House Painting” has been made into a short film

Monday, December 04, 2017

HOLDING A CUP

by Tricia Knoll



I never had to hold up a cup
to get what leaks my way.

My mother’s French porcelain
remaining tea cup, the delicate handle?

That pewter beer mug
I got at a white elephant party?

Yes, I’m strong enough
to keep my arm up for a time

that old, teacher, call on me,
I have something to say,

while darkening winter
waters soak my toes

to numb. The arms
of an old woman

who only knows
that trickle down

means something cold,
frozen. Like needled icicles.


Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who usually itemizes her tax returns. She has lived long enough to read the debunking on trickle down theories of tax cuts. Her next book How I Learned to Be White comes out from Antrim House is early 2018.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

EVICTIONS

by James Penha



In 1968 an evicted Josephine Baker
sat outside the kitchen door of her
Château des Milandes behind which
she had hid Jewish refugees and
arms for the Resistance, reared a rainbow
of twelve adopted children, and, yes,
squandered millions of francs on parties
that would have humbled even Gatsby.
Neither her légion d'honneur nor croix
de guerre could unlock that kitchen door.
And so she sat petting her cat upon
a quilt keeping her warm where once
a belt of bananas was all she required
to heat the whole of Paris with jazz. Now
Le Château est un musée en hommage
to the Black Pearl but not far away
amidst forests in Saint-Paul-de-Vence
tractors ready to raze the simpler maison
where Jimmy Baldwin lived and died

and left unfinished on the doorstep
his memoir of murdered Black heroes,
            Remember This House.

“[Monday’s] New York Times reports, falsely, that our efforts have failed. We are close to knowing, either way, whether we still have a chance to see a residency for writers and artists on the site of James Baldwin's former house, as he wanted, instead of an apartment complex. Very soon we will have the answer, no doubt about it. But it's still far too early to give up and go home. How the world responds in the coming weeks will have everything to with whether the answer is yes or no." —Les Amis de la Maison Baldwin, November 29, 2017


James Penha edits TheNewVerse.News.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

SMOKE SIGNALS

by Betsy Mars


In the town where the Pilgrims settled, members of Native American tribes from around New England gathered for a solemn National Day of Mourning observance. Thursday’s noon gathering in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts,  recalled the disease, racism and oppression that European settlers brought. It’s the 48th year that the United American Indians of New England have organized the event on Thanksgiving Day. —boston.com, November 23, 2017


Released, the dream where the pipe broke,
dumping oil into the water table.
Oil and water don't mix.
In another, the peace pipe
is passed, but one person,
or even a whole class,
refuses to share

or worse still—
turns it into a war drum.
Sticks and stones might break
my bones but names will be
thrown around haphazardly

igniting flames, festering old wounds,
clouding the discussion.
Run interference and divert.
Take up the cross. Toss that medicine,
man, unless you can afford it.

When you're on the trail
of tears, rub salt in the wounded.
Kneeling is a sin before football,
but not before God.

In God we trust, unless we're native
American, or any “other.”
The dreamcatcher is broken;
nightmares run rampant.


Betsy Mars is a poet, educator, mother and animal lover who spent part of her early childhood in Brazil. This experience led to an early awareness of income disparity, linguistic and cultural differences, as well as a love for travel and language. Her work has appeared in The Rise Up Review, The California Quarterly, The Ekphrastic Review, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others. 

Friday, December 01, 2017

OUTSIDE THE DREAM

by Lisa Vihos






“If you hear the song I sing, you will understand.”


I woke up today
so far outside the dream
I was not sure about up,
down, or which way
would take me forward.

There are days like this
when everything is changing,
and I find myself a bundle
of concerns, a bundle
of desires, waiting.

I hear songs in my head,
voices of long, long ago
of a dream that others had
and a world that could be,
should be, might be.

If only I would do the right thing
say the right thing, write the right
poem. It's not up to me.
I am not it, but,
I am part of it.

My job: to remind you,
you are part of it, too.


Lisa Vihos writes poetry in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Her fourth chapbook Fan Mail from Some Flounder is forthcoming from Main Street Rag in 2018. She is an organizer for 100 Thousand Poets for Change and an occasional guest blogger for The Best American Poetry.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

WHY WE STAY SILENT

by Deborah Coy


"The woman said Mr. Lauer asked her to unbutton her blouse, which she did. She said the anchor then stepped out from behind his desk, pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair and had intercourse with her. At some point, she said, she passed out with her pants pulled halfway down. She woke up on the floor of his office, and Mr. Lauer had his assistant take her to a nurse. The woman told The Times that Mr. Lauer never made an advance toward her again and never mentioned what occurred in his office. She said she did not report the episode to NBC at the time because she believed she should have done more to stop Mr. Lauer. She left the network about a year later." —“NBC Receives at Least 2 New Complaints About Matt Lauer," The New York Times, November 29, 2017


I never told the school
how the boy groped me
in the art room.
They would have blamed it on
my sexy new sweater.

I never told the teacher
how the boy behind me
rubbed his foot on my ass
day after day.
I just scooted forward.

Who tells about the
innuendos on the street,
in the hallways?
“They all do it” and
you go on, a little smaller.

Who could you tell
when the voice
coming from the receiver
speaks the unmentionable?
You just block your phone.

Why tell on the
Octopus boy you are with
at the drive in who thinks the price
of your admission
is your body?

They wouldn’t believe
if I told of the veteran
who stood outside
my locked bathroom door
pounding his desire.

I never told my father
how the man we called Uncle
propositioned me because
I didn’t want to cause their ancient
friendship to end.

I never told because
I was wearing a miniskirt.
I never told because
of the skin I showed
with my low-cut blouse.

He never told how I
moved in too close for a hug
His body was so nice
and he knew
he was irresistible.

I never told
because I knew
it was my fault
I felt shamed.
After all, “boys will be boys.”


Deborah Coy is an editor with award-winning Beatlick Press (New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards). She has had multiple poems published in various small presses.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

LIFE NOIR

by David Feela






Old movies
permit a man
seducing a woman
to grab her,
even as the woman
fights back.
Her role
requires she be
handled by men,
aversion or
explicit refusal
written into
a script that ends
for the audience
like a fairytale.
The director
understands,
he too is a man
and he wants her
to resist, loves
seeing how
grandly she demurs,
every retake
just to prove
she wants
to get it
right.


David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments, won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. His new book of essays How Delicate These Arches released through Raven's Eye Press, has been chosen as a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ADAM NAMING THE AMERICAN BEASTS

by Eric Fisher Stone




Adam cupped a narrowmouth toad
in hands oiled by prairie loam and named him
Narrowmouth Toad, chickadees he called
Snuggle Pandas. The Kiowa told him
not to christen bison while their scraggly clouds
hooved the booming plains. They belong
to the Creator, as does their names.

The peccary he baptized Gruntsnout
and the Gila monster, Lavatooth
before the natives banished Adam
to South America where Cortez walked
gonging in steel and helped add
Spanish words to llamas, capybaras,
comet-long arapaima fish
in the Orinoco, poison frogs like blue fire,
tapirs dancing through green chapels of ferns.

With all local words replaced, they were free
to varnish crowns from Incan gold,
blush Naples’ gardens with tomatoes, claim
man’s dominion over gulls and bitterns
and erase the world with their tongues.


Eric Fisher Stone lives in Ames, Iowa where he is a graduate student in Iowa State University’s MFA in Writing and the Environment program. His poetry has recently appeared in Poets Reading the News, Strange Poetry, The Hopper, Dime Show Review and is forthcoming in Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry.

Monday, November 27, 2017

THE CARTOGRAPHER

by Mark Tarren

“Manus detention centre cleared of all refugees and asylum seekers. Up to 60 men left without a place to stay, sources say, because new accommodation is either not ready or overfull.” —The Guardian, November 24, 2017

Above: Video of Manus prison camp November 24, 2017 tweeted by @BehrouzBoochani


In his father's gentle hands
among his world of maps
lay his son's uncharted heart.

It was given to him in the desert
without borders
presented to him without fear
without shame.

These were

The Sands of his Father's Heart
that held the young boy's body
that marked a place of returning
to bathe in the safe waters.

These things were stolen from the boy.

The winds of another country
trapped the boys heart
in barbed wire
in speechless tongues
in blood
in beatings.

These were now collected in

The New Papyrus

where the uncharted heart
must be destroyed and broken.

Where the ancient learning is undone
in these new maps there must be
metal against bone
waterless caverns
the hunger of absence for young men.

As a man he remembers
The Sands of his Father's Heart
that once held his small body
that once bathed in the safe waters
that once marked a place of returning
in his father's gentle hands.

These things were stolen from the boy

lost in the sands of Sahul

the arms of Australia.


"Peaceful protest continues in the new prison camps. Here is West Haus, the place that is not ready on Manus Island." Tweeted by @BehrouzBoochani, November 26, 2017.

“Australia built a hell for refugees on Manus. The shame will outlive us all.” —Richard Flanagan, The Guardian, November 24, 2017.


Mark Tarren is a poet and writer based in Queensland, Australia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including TheNewVerse.News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press and Spillwords Press.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

TROPHY HUNT

by Pepper Trail


Image source: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust


Elephant, what man
Not driven by hunger
Not confronted by your bulk, your tusks
Not defending his house or farm

Knowing what we know
Of your vast and furrowed memory
Of your lines of mothers and aunts
Of the slaughter pursuing you across the continent

What man
Thinking of you, elephant
Your dignity, your utter majesty in this world
Thinks of killing

Travels thousands of miles
Spends a useless fortune
Is led to you, elephant, quiet in your life
Asks for the heavy gun, and shoots

What man
Cuts the tail from your great body
Poses for the pictures, fills out the forms
Flies satisfied away

Leaving an erasure in the map of Africa
Your circuit of waterholes, lost
The hiding-place of your family bones
The silent harmony of your song, sung through the earth

What man
Consults the record books
For spread of ego, weight of pride
Fills a trophy-room with ignorance
Elephant, what beast?


Pepper Trail is a conservation biologist, poet, and photographer living in Ashland, Oregon.  His poems have appeared in Rattle, Atlanta Review, Spillway, Kyoto Journal, Pedestal, and other publications, and have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Awards.  He has long been involved in efforts to protect wildlife and wild places.  His collection Cascade-Siskiyou, a cycle of poems about Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (currently under threat by the T***p Administration), was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award in Poetry.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

NO LOVE IN THIS LABOR

by Amber Miller


Awards season wouldn’t be complete without the requisite number of controversies, and it got an early one last week when Universal announced it would submit the thriller “Get Out” for a Golden Globe in the comedy category. The film’s writer-director, Jordan Peele, immediately communicated his disappointment, tweeting, “‘Get Out’ is a documentary.” Although he later moderated his reaction, he maintained that to categorize his directorial debut as a comedy is to fatally misunderstand the seriousness of the movie, in which a young African American man is existentially threatened by a Stepford-like liberal white family in the suburbs. “The reason for the visceral response to this movie being called a comedy is that we are still living in a time in which African American cries for justice aren’t being taken seriously,” Peele explained in a statement. “It’s important to acknowledge that though there are funny moments, the systemic racism that the movie is about is very real. More than anything, it shows me that film can be a force for change. At the end of the day, call ‘Get Out’ horror, comedy, drama, action or documentary, I don’t care. Whatever you call it, just know it’s our truth.” —The Washington Post, November 23, 2017


You start to believe this is your fate
Harassment and abuse
Murder and beatings, lynching—we are skinned
To be worn like the fur of animals
Stripped of everything that makes us human
We reek of slave labor, blood, sweat
They kill us so they can be us
They want to absorb our resilience
They pave our roads to the grave with imprisonment
If these walls could talk
They wouldn’t because
They are traumatized by how much violence
Black bodies have seen
You start to believe this is your fate
When you are persecuted and used the day you are born
And God’s ear has gone deaf to our silent screaming


Amber Miller is  studying teacher education in the Midwest. Miller's work has been featured in Aois 21 publishing, and makingqueerhistory.com.

Friday, November 24, 2017

LET US NOW PRAISE SMALL THINGS

by George Salamon



Video illustrates the November 16, 2017 New York Times article ”Downing North Korean Missiles is Hard. So the US is Experimenting In-Depth."



On an idle afternoon
In my apartment
I see by the kitchen sink
A letter for me.
I haven't read it.

The radio tells me
Of rocket launches
And anti-rocket rockets
Of wars that never end,
Of a war not yet started.

All I see on this
Idle afternoon
Is my woven bread basket,
A few drops of olive oil spilt
On the bamboo cutting board.

It doesn't matter
About you and me.


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

SOUND AND SILENCE

by Gil Hoy




He was unwantedly
   relentless

in his impetuous prolix
pronouncements

Could bend even
  the most patient

sturdy ear to
  the breaking point

with his crooked
                       rivers of words

Did he really
    tweet demanding

thanks from UCLA
         basketball players?

Did he really
   tweet an ungrateful

     father's son
should've been left

       in a Chinese jail?


I wish instead

that he'd strode
    confidently into a garden

                  of roses

Winked on top of a dry
         wry smile

Opened his mouth, and said

    nothing at all—like a stone—


While inquisitive listening flies gathered
      in his

suddenly silent mouth

   While fluttering flocking pigeons
flitted

   on suddenly scarecrow arms.

While squirrels around the man’s
      stone cold feet

squirreled away
  just enough acorns

for a suddenly warmer winter

   and the felicitous sun
         rose and set every day 

After day

After day

 After day.


And the man never spoke again.


Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who is studying poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy's work has appeared most recently in Ariel Chart, The Penmen Review, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, TheNewVerse.News and Clark Street Review

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

BITCOIN

by Heather Newman




Bitcoin just passed $8,000. —TechCrunch, November 20, 2017


I’m getting in on it like a circle
in a square, the mystery game
for the digital play, a dig out
of the mines, out of control.
Like Pet Rock. That was
something. Beanie
Babies. Killer. Xbox vs.
PlayStation. Who knew.
Coffee, tea and water.
But Bitcoin is better.
Now that’s fun to say!
Block my chain, this is
better than blowing bubbles.
I’m showing my age.


Heather Newman is an MFA candidate at The New School (NYC.) Her work has appeared in Voices from Here, Vol. II, TheNewVerse.News, The Potomac, Two Hawks Quarterly, Aji Magazine, Matter, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and eChook.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

EVEN CHARLIE ROSE

by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky




Go ahead—watch and weep,
for it’s too late to shut our eyes.
No more falling back asleep!
Just go ahead—watch and weep—
every channel crawls with creeps.
Unmask the truth! Unveil their lies
then go ahead—watch and weep.
It’s far too late to shut our eyes.


Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is the longtime managing and poetry editor of the quarterly Academic Questions and the newish author of picture books. Her latest is The Boy Who Said Nonsense (Albert Whitman Company & 2016). She runs a poetry writing seminar for seniors, which has been one of the most invigorating and illuminating experiences of her life.

Monday, November 20, 2017

AMERICAN HISTORY X REVISITED

by Alan Catlin





He was the self-proclaimed
president of the United States
of the Stupid.  Alt-Right Fight
Club pioneer made famous/
gone viral, for punching out
a 95 pound woman with a
Love Trumps Hate sign.
Directed the dragging of a black
man to a parking garage to be
beaten by cowards with face masks.
All the better not to see you.
Not to provide that all important
positive ID.
Has tattooed 88 on the backs of
both hands, numbers that represent
the letter H as in the phrase
Heil Hitler.
Exhorts others to Join or Die at
rallies in places like Charlottesville.
Buys a brace of tiki lights for hate
parades around statues of traitors
and riot shields for get-togethers
after rallies where things often are
wet and wild and totally out of
control.
Is Extreme everything: right wing,
radicalized, white hood wearing
and proud of it.
Brings guns to a peace rally in case
Grannies Against the War go rogue
and attack: “The only good gray panther
is a dead one.”
Thinks the Four Horsemen of
the Apocalypse are: Robert Lee, Jeff Davis,
Stonewall Jackson and Bedford Forrest.
Says the Civil War has just begun.
May even have been the guy who
fired the first shot.


Alan Catlin is poetry editor of online journal misfitmagazine.net. His latest book of poetry is American Odyssey from Future Cycle Press.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

WHEN I SAW JESUS IN RICHMOND, VA

by Marsha Owens


Volunteers Mary Akemon (left) and Alexandra Marcus and, with Let America Vote, talked with Farrukh Kahn as they canvassed a neighborhood on Friday, October 27, 2017 in Woodbridge, Virginia. Let America Vote, formed by former Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander debuted its electoral field operations in Virginia with a field office in Manassas that drew 114 interns from across the country to help knock on doors for 10 Democratic delegate candidates. (Pete Marovich/For The Washington Post)


Lo, in the year two thousand and seventeen,
I walked among Democrats and knocked
and the young woman, wearing a friendly
smile, opened the door to me and said,
yes, we will vote tomorrow
for the one who is good to all people,
to my black family and to my Muslim
neighbors, the one who does not hurt
women, does not steal from the poor,
and I said, that is good, and my gaze
fell on the old woman on the couch,
her hand patting the tiny baby,
and she asked me to name names
of the others who care about others
and I showed her the list, and she
rejoiced and was grateful
and I saw, too, the man seated on a stool,
the old woman’s foot on his knee,
and I watched this young man wash
the feet of his mother-in-law who was lame,
saw him file her splintered toenails,
and my eyes did not deceive,
and his child—an old soul—waved her
baby hands, and his young wife spoke
again—do you see what my husband is doing?
and I saw, then turned away, walked through
golden leaves and the sun reached down, and I
heard nearby loud voices praising Sunday
football and seemed to hear heavenly voices
sing blessings for this holy shit, and within
the loudness, a small voice, maybe my own,
whispered, This is good stuff, damn good stuff.


Marsha Owens lives and writes in Richmond, VA and celebrates her roots in the Chesapeake Bay area. She is pleased to say that she survived 18 years of teaching English to middle schoolers. Her poems and essays have been published at The Wild Word, Feminine Collective, Rat’s Ass Review, TheNewVerse.News,The Literary Nest, and the Dead Mule School of Literature.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

WE DID ALL WE COULD

by Carolyn Martin



"World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice" by William J. Ropple et al and 15,364 scientist signatories from 184 countries  in BioScience, 13 November 2017 via the Alliance of World Scientists.


We did all we could.
This came later—
after miscues, closed eyes,
full-throated ignorance
singing through church pews,
school rooms,
chamber halls,                                            
families at supper time.

We did all we could.
This came later—
after sold-out masks,
cracked water lines,
the silence of bees,
monkeys, elephants,
eucalyptus, maples,
and nature poetry.

We did all we could.
Someone would
have scoffed
at this arrogance
if there were, that is,
someone left to hear
and later hadn’t disappeared.


Carolyn Martin is blissfully retired in Clackamas, OR, where she gardens, writes, and plays. Her poems have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK, and her third poetry collection Thin Places was released by Kelsay Books in 2017. She hopes the Earth won't go extinct before her next book is published.

Friday, November 17, 2017

INGLORIOUS BASTARDS

by Kathleen A. Lawrence





Acting badly,
boorish comics
coax deranged egos.
False good-guys
going Hollywood,
icons indecently
jones and jerk,
kindling lascivious
meager manhoods.
Nihilistic ogres, odd
paunchy producers,
quibble ruthlessly.
Ransacking solicitors,
sleazy thieves
undressing virtue,
these villains wither,
when exposed,
yanking zippers
ad nauseam.


Kathleen A. Lawrence continues to write poetry in upstate New York. Recently she received word that two of her poems have been nominated for 2017 Best of the Net awards, and another was nominated for the 2017 Rhysling Award of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA). She has also  had poems published in Rattle (Poets Respond), Eye to the Telescope, haikuniverse, Silver Blade Magazine, The Wild Word magazine (Germany), Altered Reality Magazine, Undertow Tanka Review, and Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, among others.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A FLOCK OF WILD TURKEYS

by Tricia Knoll




You’d pull off the road for that,
wouldn’t you? Beside Pigeon River?
A flight of forty landing.

Thin and sleek, running.
Watch their heads bob
and thin legs pedal.

You’d forget news
of feathered nests
and overstuffed breasts.


Tweeted by Bill Kristol.


Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who has only seen one wild turkey in Oregon but many, many more in Vermont.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MEDITATION IN ROME

by Sharon Olson


School had not started and students at Rancho Tehama Elementary were still in the playground when staffers first heard gunshots in the neighborhood Tuesday morning, said Richard Fitzpatrick, superintendent of the Corning Union Elementary School District. “The bell had not rang, roll had not been taken, when the shots were heard,” he said. Staffers immediately began to lock down the campus, rushing students into classrooms and under desks when the gunman came around the corner toward the school, Fitzpatrick said at a press conference Tuesday. The gunman crashed through the front gates of the school in a white pickup truck traveling at high speed, he said. Authorities say this was part of a larger rampage through the rural community in Northern California that left five dead and 10 wounded. The man came out of the truck with a semiautomatic rifle and ran into the center of the school’s quad and began firing at windows and walls as staffers, including the school’s custodian, rushed students into classrooms under gunfire. One student was shot in a classroom while under a desk, Fitzpatrick said. That student was said to be stable. —LA Times, November 14, 2017


The gaze from Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe
reveals a stag atop the nearby church,
a crucifix sprouting between its antlers.
Stirring my cappuccino I think of Hubertus,
as Eustace is called in Belgium,
the hunter who saw his vision of the crucifix
in the forest of the Ardennes,
and asked his would-be victim
what he might do.

The stag counseled good hunting,
trimming the ranks of the herd.
I think of the X’s spray-painted
onto the carcasses of “fallen” deer
in my neighborhood,
marked for hauling away.

Fallen perhaps over-used as a euphemism
for dead soldiers, as if they had merely
stumbled, breaking rank in procession
towards the enemy at Waterloo,
Khe Sanh, Kanduz.

In my America gun cases beckon,
designer bags hold personal revolvers,
video games tally the number killed
for the game player with his joy stick,
the one who flunked anger management
and blamed the schoolmates who mocked
and bullied him, who now focuses his aim
on the heads of children in the crosshairs.

Inside the church lie the bones of Sant’Eustachio.
Painted onto the dome above, the wings
of the Holy Spirit, flung wide.


Sharon Olson is a retired librarian, a graduate of Stanford, with an MLS from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon. Her book The Long Night of Flying was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Off the Coast, String Poet, Arroyo Literary Review, The Curator, Adanna, Organs of Vision and Speech Magazine, The Midwest Quarterly, Edison Literary Review, California Quarterly, The Sand Hill Review, and Cider Press Review. Two of her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She currently lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey where she is a member of the U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative, and since 2015 has been part of the Cool Women Poets critique and performance group, which gives readings in venues throughout New Jersey.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CAN IT HAPPEN HERE?

by  Jon Taylor


Image source: Newspaper Rock















Ask a Native American
declared a “merciless Indian savage”
in the country’s founding document
taught with reverence to schoolchildren.

Ask a descendant
of slaves from Africa
who isn’t behind bars with two million
others of his inheritance.

Ask a Mexican
who had the temerity
to resettle in the land Anglos stole
from his ancestors.

Ask an Arab immigrant
who was removed from an airplane
because his fellow passengers
felt uncomfortable in his presence.

Ask a six-year-old
taken from school in handcuffs
because he pulled the pigtails
of the girl in front of him.

Ask the parents
who lost custody of their children
because they let them walk home
from school by themselves.

Ask the old boy
shot dead in his armchair
when the law broke down his front door
looking for someone else.

Ask yourself
while being cavity searched
at the side of the road
for rolling through a stop sign.


Jon Taylor is the author of Berry Picker’s Blues, a book of Michigan/Northwoods/Upper Peninsula poems. He can be reached at taylor.jon440[at]gmail.com .

Monday, November 13, 2017

OVER

by Judith Terzi


The Trump administration announced tight new restrictions Wednesday on American travel and trade with Cuba, implementing policy changes President Trump announced five months ago to reverse Obama administration normalization with the communist-ruled island. Under the new rules, most individual visits to Cuba will no longer be allowed, and U.S. citizens will again have to travel as part of groups licensed by the Treasury Department for specific purposes, accompanied by a group representative. Americans also will be barred from staying at a long list of hotels and from patronizing restaurants, stores and other enterprises that the State Department has determined are owned by or benefit members of the Cuban government, specifically its security services. —The Washington Post, November 8, 2017. Havana photo by Judith Terzi.


To Barack Obama



Like the Roman deity Janus, you looked
to the past & the future. Janus––god of time.
God of gates & passages. God of trade.

Yes, trade. Shadowy jumble of words &
punishment emerges today from the WH.
No golf resorts, no ties, no towers, no art

of the deal. The future is opaque, grieves
the loss of your imagination, your
luminosity, your esperanza. No sunrise

today over restoration in Old Havana,
over skyscrapers along Avenida de los
Presidentes, over Hemingway's weary

Corona, over John Lennon's statue in
Lennon Park. No sunset watch from Fort
Morro, from Lucky Luciano's sunlit rooms

at the Hotel Nacional where John Kerry's
photo hangs over a bar, where Nat King Cole
hangs out in bronze, & a sculpture

of Isadora Duncan surprises in the lobby
of this hotel now blacklisted for Americans.
Can we still use their bathrooms? Can we

still drink their mojitos, smoke Cohibas
on the terrace after La Parisienne show?
Can we still speak to the two Parisian

couples fêting their marriages, or tourists
from Jamaica, Shanghai, Czech Republic,
Germany, Barcelona, Chile, & México?

These travelers on their own, alone. Can we
still walk through the bunker, stark reminder
of the verge of war––the Missile Crisis. Can

we still climb to the top of this blacklisted
hotel & view our Embassy & the cruise
ships beyond & wish you were here?


EDITOR’S NOTE: TRAVEL TO CUBA WITH THE AUTHORS GUILD FOUNDATION: "New Cuba Trip Added by Popular Demand February 10-17, 2018 (December and November trips are SOLD OUT) Please note that recent sanctions on travel to Cuba prohibit individual travel; however, it is legal to visit Cuba with a group led by a licensed educational organization. The Authors Guild Foundation trip qualifies under the new restrictions."


Judith Terzi's poems appear or are forthcoming in journals and anthologies including Caesura, Columbia Journal, Good Works Review (FutureCycle Press), Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo), Raintown Review, Unsplendid, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Web and Net and included in Keynotes, a study guide for the artist-in-residence program for State Theater New Jersey. Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By are recent chapbooks from Kattywompus Press.